In a Nutshell
This article will explain how to install new car stereo gear in your Tacoma. Check it out and then use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car.
Whether you are working with the standard factory radio or the JBL system, Toyota's factory speakers are pretty good. With that in mind, we suggest upgrading your receiver first and adding cool features like Bluetooth™ connectivity, multiple imputs, and more. You can get to the speakers later.
If you decide you want the best possible sound in your pickup, install some aftermarket speakers, and a subwoofer. Adding an amplifier will make all your speakers sound better, and a sub will give you the big bass you crave.
Overview of the Toyota Tacoma
The 2005-11 Toyota Tacoma DoubleCab is a rugged hauler with plenty of room for passengers. Toyota built this tough truck with a basic stereo system or an upgraded JBL stereo system, and you'll find lots of possibilities for upgrading either system, including easy replacement of the stereo and speakers.
If you want to add bass to your system JL Audio offers a custom-fit Stealthbox sub enclosure that's made to fit perfectly in this popular truck. You can also continue to use your factory-equipped steering wheel audio controls with a new stereo by using a special adapter.
This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on installing a car stereo or speakers in your Tacoma, we'll include a Crutchfield MasterSheet™ free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one for $9.99.
Replacing your factory radio
Factory radio in 2005-08 non-JBL system (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Installing an aftermarket stereo will make your factory system sound better, plus it's a great way to add new features like iPod® control or HD Radio™ reception. You’ll need a dash kit to install a DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) radio, and kits are available in gray or black. You'll have to remove the display from your dash and reinstall it in the Toyota kit.
You'll also need a wiring harness that allows you to install a new stereo without having to cut into the factory wires. Crutchfield will give you a very nice discount on the dash kit and harness needed for this installation with most orders. Our step-by-step Crutchfield MasterSheet™ instructions for your Tacoma are free with your order.
If you want to keep the factory look, you’ll find it easy to add additional features to the Toyota radio. You can add an adapter that lets you control your iPod® with the Toyota radio (and your steering wheel audio controls). Adapters are also available for adding Bluetooth or satellite radio to your Toyota radio.
You can build a full system around the factory radio with new speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers, but an aftermarket stereo will give you a cleaner sound that will make these upgrades sound even better.
Installation notes: You can't install a car stereo with a fold-down face in this truck. If you have the Toyota satellite radio option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo.
Tacoma DoubleCab's dash, disassembled (Crutchfield Research Photo)
You’ll know that you have the upgraded Tacoma system if you see the JBL logo on your radio. You’ll need the same dash kit to replace the radio in the JBL system, and you’ll also need a special wiring harness that retains the JBL system amplifier. It's a lot easier to keep the JBL amplifier for a couple of reasons.
First, you’ll have to run new wires from your new radio to each of the speakers in order to bypass the JBL amp, which is a time-consuming job. Second, you might think that keeping the JBL amp will mean that you won't hear a change in sound quality, but a new aftermarket receiver will send a cleaner signal to the amp and you'll hear the difference.
PAC offers a Toyota Factory Integration Adapter (TATO) to plug into the factory harness and keep the JBL system’s amplifier working. Crutchfield offers a very nice discount on this special adapter and the necessary mounting kit.
Your new stereo must have two sets of preamp outputs in order to connect to PAC's TATO adapter. Again, you can't install a car stereo with a fold-down face. If you have the Toyota satellite radio option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo.
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain the steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo in your Tacoma. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.
Tools needed: 10mm socket, panel tool
Replacing your factory speakers
The front door in a Tacoma with the 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Basic 6-speaker system
This basic system comes equipped with tweeters in the upper front doors, 6"x9" speakers in the lower front doors, and 6-1/2" speakers in the rear doors. Toyota typically uses 4-ohm speakers in their factory systems, so most aftermarket speakers will work well in the Tacoma.
Front door speakers
The Tacoma's front door houses a 6"x9" speaker molded to a mounting bracket, so an aftermarket 6"x9" speaker will not fit unless you build a new mounting bracket. We recommend that you install a 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speaker in the front door with the help of a mounting bracket because it will mount to the existing screw holes. A nice set of component speakers would be a great choice for this Toyota.
The factory 6"x9" speaker in its molded bracket (Crutchfield Research Photo)
You'll have to remove the door panel to get to the factory speaker, which is attached to the door with four 10mm bolts. The factory speaker is molded to the bracket, so you'll need a new bracket to mount any aftermarket speaker.
To get the door panel off, you'll start by removing the sail panel. When you (carefully) pull it off, the little white retaining clips stay in the door. Make sure you pull those clips out of the door (if they didn't come out with the sail panel) and reattach them to the sail panel. Otherwise, when you push the panel back into place, it'll push the clips into the door.
As mentioned above, mounting brackets for aftermarket 6"x9" speakers are not available, so if you have your heart set on putting 6"x9"s in there, you'll need to fabricate your own brackets or use our universal backstraps. Use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect your new speakers to the factory wiring, so you won't need to splice into the factory wires or cut the factory plug to attach a new speaker.
The Tacoma's front door tweeter (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front door tweeters
The Tacoma's tweeters are located in the front door just below the window. If you decide to disconnect the tweeters and put full-range speakers in the front door woofer location, you'll need to do a little work. The speaker wires are paralleled together at the tweeter location, so the Crutchfield-supplied speaker harness won't work if you're unplugging the tweeter.
You can cut off the factory heat shrink off the plug pictured above, cut the connections when they parallel together, and connect them to your speakers.
Now here's the good news – if you're installing new tweeters, look for a tweeter with a threaded hole on the back. Then you can use a backstrap to mount the tweeter to the holes in the factory tweeter bracket.
Rear door panel removed (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear door speakers
You’ll find 6-1/2" speakers in the rear doors of the Tacoma DoubleCab. You'll need to remove the rear door panel to access this location. You can replace these speakers with aftermarket 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" size speakers by using a mounting bracket. There is a wiring harness available for the rear speakers so cutting or splicing won't be necessary.
JBL speaker system
This system is rare so we haven’t been able to research its speakers fully. It has the same speaker setup as the basic 6-speaker system, with the addition of a subwoofer, which is located behind the rear seat.
At this time, we are unsure of the impedance of the JBL speakers, and we don't have any details on the JBL sub. If you're familiar with this system drop us a line. We'd love to learn more.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat screwdriver, 10mm and 14mm socket, panel tool, wire stripper/crimp tool, crimp caps
Bass in your Toyota Tacoma
JL Audio Stealthbox® installed (photo courtesy of JL Audio)
If you're looking to add a subwoofer to your Tacoma's system, JL Audio offers a custom subwoofer enclosure that fits behind the rear seat, and many powered subwoofers or shallow subwoofer enclosures will fit under a seat. Finding room for an amplifier to power your subwoofer shouldn't be a challenge either.
Other options for your Tacoma
Here are some other ways to improve your Tacoma:
If you're installing new speakers in your truck, an amplifier will give you an enormous boost in sound quality, providing the clean power and headroom that an in-dash receiver just can't deliver. (We don’t recommend using an amplifier with your factory speakers as they are built for lower power handling.) This truck really is a great candidate for component speakers in the front doors, and an amp will give you maximum performance from a nice set of components.
If your factory radio came equipped with satellite radio, you will lose that option with a new car stereo. Look for a new car stereo that’ll work with an outboard SiriusXM tuner, or consider adding a Dock-and-Play satellite radio that you can take from car to car.
An aftermarket in-dash navigation receiver is a great option for your Tacoma, because there’s plenty of room behind the dash. Not only will you get great directions, but you'll love using the touchscreen to control your new audio system.
Installing a security system in your Tacoma isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.
Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck
Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.